In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 ESV
Although we are fearfully and wonderfully made, humanity is a creature that is prone to failure. Even in the Garden of Eden, we struggled to remain consistent with God’s divine plan for our lives. The sin of Adam and Eve not only disrupted our relationship with God, but it also left us broken and damaged. In our brokenness, we tend to focus more on failure even as we covet success.
Fortunately, God does not see us as we see ourselves. He refuses to allow our humanity to be defined by our failures. From God’s perspective, we are redeemed saints instead of condemned sinners. Our failures cannot block his redemption power. That was made clear when Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” That prayer from our crucified Savior gives us the audacity of faith. Therefore we believe that our mistakes do not define our identity as disciples of Christ.
We should not beat ourselves up or be guilt-ridden because of our failures. God can use our failures to grow us into his image. His grace abounds where failures are more evident. Notwithstanding the extent of our failure, there is always redemption. All we are asked to do is to confess those failures so we can find mercy in our times of need.
The irony is those sinful people set up structures and institutions that tarnish people’s reputation because of past failures. Most of us struggle to see human potential in those that have failed. We act as if perfection is the standard by which human behavior should be measured. Yet we know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
In today’s text, Paul reminds us that we have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. God has lavished His grace upon humanity through Christ Jesus. Because of Jesus, we should never think of ourselves as failures even when we fail. Through Jesus’ perfection, our imperfections are overshadowed.
You can I can always do better no matter the extent of our failure. We should never be discouraged or feel hopeless because of our failures. If Jesus can redeem Peter who denied him three times, he can restore you and me despite our failure. That is what makes the Christian life so dynamic and inviting to me. It gives me the audacity to think of myself as something or someone that the world tells me I cannot be. The Christian message is that anyone can be restored despite their failure.
The Bible warns us against condemning anyone because of their failure because of the grace and mercy of Almighty God. Sadly, too many people are walking in condemnation though Paul reminds us “There is, therefore, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). When our best is not good enough, or when we give less than our best, God still loves us and working in us His perfect will.
I wish I was as smart as some people expect me to be. Most of us would love to have the level of wisdom that others demand of us. I would love to have the level of spiritual maturity of Paul, or pray like Christ, serve like Christ, and love like Christ. But the truth is that on my best days I am just a failure-prone creature who has to go before God’s throne of grace daily to find mercy. Yet I refuse to live or think as a failure. Nor do I allow my failures to define my identity in Christ. That is why I walk by faith and not by sight. My faith tells me that I am an overcomer and a conqueror who can do all things through Christ Jesus. My Bible tells me that I will inherit the kingdom of God as a joint-heir with Christ Jesus. Though I do my utmost to avoid failure, I am still loved by my Father and heaven-bound despite my failures. Hallelujah!
Questions For Reflection
Are you allowing your life to be defined by your failures? If so, how can the Holy Spirit help you to live more triumphantly through Christ Jesus?
How can you help someone in your social circle to overcome their sense of failure?
What message of encouragement can you give someone who thinks they are a failure because of failed experiences?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for the redemptive hope we have in Christ Jesus. Please extend your hand of mercy upon those who live with an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame because of their many failures.